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Talkin in Calcutta on the Elgin Marbles

Coverage of a talk given in Calcutta on the impact of the Parthenon Sculptures on romantic literature.

The Telegraph (Calcutta, India) [1]

Sunday , February 22 , 2009
Romantic men
City Lights

The 16th annual seminar of the Centre for Studies in Romantic Literature on February 5 started on an amusing note.

At the end of the inaugural lecture by Professor Richard Cronin of the University of Glasgow, chairperson Bharati Roy, former pro-vice chancellor of Calcutta University, looked perplexed. “Where is the masculinity in the paper?” she asked, glancing pointedly at the printed programme which announced “Literature and Masculinity after Waterloo” as the subject.

But Professor Cronin had decided to reverse the order of the two papers he was to deliver. What he had just delivered was a paper on “Cruel Mockeries: Romanticism and the Cult of Unfeeling”.

When that was made known, the cringed brows relaxed. “Then it’s a brilliant paper,” Roy announced.

If the auditorium at Jadavpur University was already crowded, the numbers overflowed when Nicholas Roe, of the University of St Andrews, rose to speak on Keats and the Elgin Marbles.

Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek sculptures from Parthenon brought to England between 1803 and 1812 by the Earl of Elgin.

Roe’s paper discussed with visual aid the impact of these sculptures as well as Keats’s reaction in two of his sonnets. A lively debate ensued afterwards about which country should claim Elgin Marbles now, England or Greece.